We’ve all been there. You’re running well, sticking to your training plan (mostly) and generally following every rule in the book. But you’re still struggling to run a PB. It’s frustrating and there’s nothing more deflating than having the best training cycle followed by the worst race day. It’s annoying and happens more often than some of us would like.
If you’re currently training to achieve a spring or summer PB but can’t seem to chip away at your time, here are 4 reasons why you could be struggling to run a PB and what you can do about it.
You’re training randomly
And not sticking to your plan. Guilty! I am so guilty of this. If you’re training for a specific goal, you need to follow a plan that is designed specifically to help you to achieve this goal. So going to fitness classes instead of sticking to your plan isn’t going to cut it.
With a training plan, you should be looking to progress each week, but if you skipped a session the week before and swapped two sessions for a random class that was never on your plan, you won’t be progressing in the way you hoped and you may find yourself struggling to run a PB.
Yes, I know its hard and sometimes you just don’t want to do whatever your plan is telling you to do, but random training yields random results. Stick to your training plan as much as possible. But make sure you take rest when needed, even if its not scheduled in.
You’re not being honest with your training
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I don’t work as hard as I should during a session. Sometimes its because I’m tired, other times I just can’t be bothered, but this is a huge hindrance when it comes to achieving my goals.
My training plan has been designed specifically to help me to achieve my goal. If I’m not consistently hitting the times set out in my programme, I’m not going to achieve those goals. Sure, not everyday is going to be a good day. This week I ran 400m repeats much slower than I usually do, but I knew this was an anomaly so it didn’t worry me too much.
If you find that you’re constantly struggling to hit your pace during training, ask yourself why. Is it because you’re not prioritising your training? Are you skipping sessions? Are you having late nights when you know you have to be up early to train? This could be why your struggling to run a PB.
Or perhaps it’s because your training plan is too hard? I always ask my clients to give me their most recent 5km time, not their PB. Unless their PB is recent. If you’re struggling to meet your training times, speak to your coach about it and look at reducing the speed or duration of your runs.
On the flip side, if you are constantly running well and smashing each run by miles, is your training plan to easy for you? It can happen both ways. You’re not going to run a 50 minute 10km if you’re following a plan designed to break 60 minutes for 10km. Be honest with your training.
You’re not recovering after each session
Sometimes social media can make you feel guilty for taking rest days because of the small handful, and it is only a small handful of people, who seem to be training all day everyday. But let me tell you now, recovery is key! Recovery includes everything from foam rolling to stretching, to sitting down and doing absolutely nothing too. Without proper recover, you will find yourself struggling to run a PB.
Try to make sure you have adequate rest time in between each training session. On Monday I run track in the evening, Tuesday I usually train in the afternoon and on Wednesday I train in the morning. I try to have at least 15-20 hours recovery in-between each session. Of course this isn’t always achievable. So, if I train on a Monday evening and need to train Tuesday morning due to my schedule that day, I make sure that my training sessions are complimentary.
Monday is always track, Tuesday is strength training, Wednesday is track, Thursday i’m back to strength training. I usually have 2-3 rest days, depending on how I feel and I don’t usually train more than 4 days in a row. It might take a while to figure out what works best for you, but once you nail your rest and recovery you’ll start feeling and performing better.
You’re doing too much
One of the key indicators of over training is a decline in results. You feel fine and well rested but your performance keeps dipping. If this is you, you may be over training and that could be why you are struggling to run a PB. Have a look at your overall weekly milage and time spent in the gym. How does this compare to previous training cycles? I’ve been running track consistently for a year now, and only recently have I introduced a second track session to my training programme. Before them, my body just couldn’t hack it.
Overtraining could also be a sign that your body is crying out for a break. Have you just come out of one training cycle and straight into another? Have you spent most of the past year racing every Sunday? Sometimes less really is more. Don’t be afraid to take a few weeks or even months off running in order to allow your body to reset.
I hope you find this blog post usual, don’t forget to always listen to your body and take a rest when you need it.